Of the three Westside Subway Extension polls that we have done thus far, I think this is perhaps the most compelling. The Westwood area has offices, a major campus and a lot of residents nearby and is located near several major transit corridors.
And that means finding the right location for a subway station isn’t easy. An urban planning class could have a field day studying the issue.
If you missed our initial post that explains the issue in detail, here’s the link — I encourage you to read it before voting.
Thus far, readers have shown the most support for a station at Wilshire and Westwood. I’m also interested in your thoughts on the subject. For example, if you voted for Lot 36 or Wilshire/Westwood, why one over the other? Or do you think both locations is absolutely wrong? Email your comments to email@example.com or one of our other channels — Metro’s Twitter account, Metro’s Facebook page or the Westside Subway Extension’s Facebook page.
A few comments we’ve spotted so far:
From Sally and Jerry, via email:
Westwood and Wilshire has huge traffic now. It would only be worse. It can’t be there. Continue reading →
We had big responses to our first two polls on subway station locations and I’d like to see that repeated with our latest poll — especially because Westwood should be one of the most heavily used stations on the Westside Subway Extension.
Here’s a link to yesterday’s post that included all sorts of background info about issues facing station locations in Westwood.
One tech note: our first two polls allowed reader comments via Polldaddy, our polling software. We’ve set up the new poll to allow them but there’s something amiss and I can’t get it to work. There are other avenues, however, to comment:
This is the third in our series of polls on issues facing the Westside Subway Extension. It’s The Source’s way of unscientifically gauging the public’s general opinions about some of the big issues facing the subway project, which is in its planning stages.
The first poll asked readers if they believed a station should be built at Wilshire & Crenshaw (the no’s prevailed) and the second poll asked the best location for the station in Century City (Avenue of the Stars and Constellation was the top vote getter).
Click above to see a larger image.
Now we turn our attention to Westwood. As part of the project’s draft environmental impact study/report, Metro planners are concentrating on two station locations, shown at right.
The locations are, in fact, very close to one another. One is under Wilshire Boulevard, on the west side of Westwood Boulevard — the main access point from Wilshire to Westwood Village and the UCLA campus. The other location is just north and west of that location, under UCLA parking lot #36.
Here are some of the issues with the Westwood station:
•Depending on which alternative gets built, as many as 14,300 people are expected to board at this station each weekday, a number that doesn’t include the likely thousands that will get off trains at this station. That could make it one of the highest boarding stations in the entire Metro Rail system. That’s not surprising given the proximity of the station to UCLA, the UCLA Medical Center, high-rise offices and the nearby Federal Building.
•That’s a lot of people to move in, out and around this location. That means the station has to be conducive to good pedestrian, bike and bus connections. Continue reading →
The Los Angeles Times published a story last week that highlighted criticisms of Metro Rail but did not include any quotes from supporters of the program. Here is the letter Metro CEO Art Leahy has sent to the Times in response:
Letters to the Editor
Los Angeles Times
Times Mirror Square
Los Angeles, CA 90053
July 27, 2010
Contrary to critics, Metro has funded a massive expansion of bus service in Los Angeles County. Between 1985 and 2008, annual bus service hours operated by Metro and the municipal bus operators increased from 8.3 million to 11.8 million and the annual cost of operating this service has more than doubled from $572 million to $1.306 billion.
During this same period Metro began constructing a rail system that today carries 327,000 boarding passengers on an average weekday. Our light rail system alone is the nation’s third busiest behind Boston and San Francisco. We also help fund the Metrolink commuter rail network that removes more than 25,000 daily car trips from our congested freeways.
And it’s still not enough.
The reality is that there are a lot more people opting for public transit in the county. Ridership grew 11 percent from 1985 to 2008, according to nationally vetted statistics. But while that gain may have staved off total gridlock, Los Angeles still has the nation’s worst traffic congestion and that has spawned pollution and cost commuters and others dearly in terms of wasted time, energy and money.
Against that backdrop, voters in Los Angeles County have three times approved local transportation sales tax measures that call for bus improvements as well as rail investment because they recognize there’s no single solution to our traffic woes. We need a balanced approach.
The bus and rail systems complement each other. For example, without Metro Rail, the successful Metro Orange Line busway in the San Fernando Valley would not have been viable. In certain busy corridors like Wilshire Boulevard, rail can deliver the extra capacity we need to meet mounting demand, especially if the rail and bus systems are integrated. The Metro Orange Line, Metro Rapid buses and the Silver Line work well because they connect with Metro Rail stations. It is also cheaper to run trains because they are less labor intensive than bus operations so we can stretch scarce operating dollars.
The voters have given Metro a mandate to build an integrated multi-modal transportation system and we’re delivering it with no time to spare.
The 30/10 plan was officially adopted as Metro policy this past spring. The initiative proposes to use low-interest federal loans and other financing to build Measure R transit projects in the next 10 years instead of the next 30. The money would be repaid with Measure R sales tax receipts.
Parts of 30/10 are likely going to need Congressional approval, probably as part of the next transportation spending bill. The bill will likely not be tackled until next year (only two years behind schedule) and the vast majority of local Congress members have thus far been quiet about 30/10. So having a healthy rally for 30/10 would supply everybody with a nice visual of the crowd and we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words.
To put it even more in English, if you want to ride the subway to Westwood in the next decade instead of waiting until 2036 — when The Source will be celebrating its 27th birthday and I’ll be…never mind — it’s probably worth supporting 30/10. Other projects that are proposed to be funded by 30/10 include the Downtown Regional Connector, Expo Line phase II, the Crenshaw Line, the Green Line extension to Torrance, an extension of the Eastside Gold Line to South El Monte or Whittier, a transit project spanning the Sepulveda Pass and the Foothill Extension Gold Line, among others.
If you want to write your representative in Congress to urge support for 30/10, here’s a recent post with contact information.
And if they write back, we’re glad to post their response. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, July 23 Metro officials convened near the Blue Line Pico Station to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Metro Rail – and to look towards the future. Check out the above video for highlights from the speeches.
We’ve run two polls on the Westside Subway Extension so far and here are the results as of about noon on Monday:
I’m pleased with the number of votes, which I think reflects the great interest the public has in this project. As they should for something that is going to likely cost in the neighborhood of $4 billion!
In our most recent poll, on the Century City station, there were several votes for “other.” Among the more interesting ones listed were sites beneath the Century City mall and at Century Park West and Olympic Boulevard, beneath a public parking garage. There were also — not surprisingly — some differences of opinion expressed in the comments.
Of course, this is an anonymous and unscientific poll — interesting, I think, but not conclusive. The polls are no substitute for the formal process the public has to comment and help shape the environmental studies that dictate how the subway project will eventually get built. I wrote about that in a recent post — which you’ll find after the jump.
The committee meetings scheduled for Aug. 18-19 and the regular meeting of the full Board of Directors on Aug. 26 has been canceled due to a lack of quorum. Hey — it’s summer. I trust all of us will find a way to fill the time until meetings resume in September.
More, ahem, less-than-good-news from the world of transit funding. The Federal Transit Administration released a report last week saying that $77.7 billion is needed to bring the state of the nation’s transit system into good repair.
The news comes at a time, of course, when many transit agencies — including Metro — are trying to fund transit improvements and according to the latest figures, from 2008, spending about $12 billion to $13 billion on maintenance.
The lion’s share of the backlog, according to the FTA, comes from older rail systems — which are mostly along the East Coast and some of which have been around for nearly a century. The FTA in April announced $775 million in funding to help agencies bring their systems into a state of “good repair.”
Here’s a good story about the issue that ran in the New York Times over the weekend. It includes a few choice anecdotes about passengers stuck in sweltering rail cars during the East Coast heatwave.
Wow–almost 2,800 votes in our latest subway poll. At this point, readers are favoring the Constellation station on the Westside Subway Extension. If you haven’t voted yet, please feel free to participate. Here’s an earlier post explaining the Century City station issue.
A couple of readers have emailed and asked what exactly is the purpose of our polls–are they being used to determine the location of subway stations?
The answer is NO, NO and NO.
We recently installed software that allows us to conduct polls on The Source. I like the polls because they’re interactive and they offer a good opportunity to discuss issues facing Metro while giving both us and our readers a chance to get a rough (and anonymous) gauge of people’s opinions on important issues.
But there is a whole other process that determines what-gets-built-where. Continue reading →